I think of beauty as an absolute necessity. I don’t think it’s a privilege or an indulgence, it’s not even a quest. I think it’s almost like knowledge, which is to say, it’s what we were born for. I think finding, incorporating and then representing beauty is what humans do. With or without authorities telling us what it is, I think it would exist in any case. The startle and the wonder of being in this place. This overwhelming beauty—some of it is natural, some of it is man-made, some of it is casual, some of it is a mere glance—is an absolute necessity. I don’t think we can do without it anymore than we can do without dreams or oxygen.

∆ Toni Morrison, Paris Review interview